JANUARY 19, 2010
As the nation’s financial struggle seems to worsen taxpayers are funding lavish secret capitol hideaways for all 100 U.S. Senators, many of them with private bathrooms, fireplaces and fancy accessories.
The covert spaces, which are additional to official legislative offices, have no room numbers or names and many are hidden along corridors or around rotundas, according to a news report that offers a rare peek into the top-secret area of the U.S. Capitol that lawmakers prefer to keep from their constituents.
Traditionally the prestigious covert retreats were reserved only for senators who had seniority or lots of clout on Capitol Hill. Those tend to be grand affairs, according to the news report, and feature multi million-dollar views of the Washington and Lincoln memorials or the Supreme Court. However, this year all senators—including lowly freshman, sophomores and juniors—will get their own occult offices, many of them just steps from the U.S. Senate chamber.
The added space, inside the capitol’s west front, was once occupied by the Capitol Police which recently moved from the building’s basement into a new $621 million Capitol Visitor Center. That left more than a dozen rooms vacant, which have been newly renovated to accommodate all senators, including shunned members like Illinois Democrat Roland Burris.
While President Obama and fellow Democrats assure they run an open and transparent government, everyone refuses to comment on how much taxpayers are spending to renovate the rooms into the occult sanctuaries that are used for legislative work and meetings as well as an afternoon snooze. The Senate Rules Committee, which assigns the secret offices, refused to comment.
The committee’s usually media-hogging chairman, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, rejected a precious opportunity to see his name in print by politely declining to comment on the matter. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada blew off several requests for comments as did Ranking Republican Bob Bennett of Utah. Clearly, they prefer to keep details of this endeavor private.
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